The plant that should never be missing in the garden or in pots? Definitely the laurel. In fact, laurel, with its leaves rich in precious essential oils and anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances, is a powerful remedy capable of improving digestion, counteracting common digestive problems but also protecting the immune system and lungs. And that's not all, as recent scientific research also shows, laurel supports cognitive function and keeps neurodegenerations away. But let's understand better.
Laurel, lungs and immune system
Laurel leaves contain essential oils with antimicrobial, antiviral, immunostimulating and anti-inflammatory action, useful to combat inflammation affecting the airways and lungs (Singletary et al, Nutrition today, 2021 - Fidan et al, Molecules, 2019). These essential oils, in fact, are able to keep the overproduction of mucus under control, help reduce the risk of viral infections and repair lung damage, including damage induced by smoking (Singletary et al, Nutrition today, 2021 ).
Laurel and brain
When we inhale the essential oils of laurel these can exert their tonic and neuroprotective action, stimulating neuronal activity, improving mood and also counteracting neuroinflammations (Caputo et al, Molecules, 2017 - Singletary et al , Nutrition today, 2021). Thanks to the anti-aging and anti-inflammatory action, the essential oil extracted from bay leaves helps to support cognitive function (Brinza et al Antioxidants, 2021).
Laurel, diabetes, cholesterol and digestion
Laurel improves the digestibility of food. Therefore, it is a really good choice to add its leaves to elaborate or meat-based dishes or to enjoy the herbal tea prepared with bay leaves. In fact, bay leaves counteract gastric problems and bloating and are carminative (Caputo et al, Molecules, 2017). And that's not all. In fact, thanks to their active ingredients, such as terpenes and cineole, bay leaves help reduce blood sugar, bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. In addition, this remedy has also been shown to increase HDL good cholesterol (Khan et al, J Clin Biochem Nutr, 2009).
Laurel and cellular degeneration
Scientific studies have shown that extracts of bay leaves have an antioxidant and anticancer action. In fact, bay leaves have been found to reduce the risk of some forms of cellular degeneration, such as those affecting the colon (Bennett et al, Nutr Cancer, 2013).
Bay leaf with pain-relieving action
Thanks to the presence of cineole, bay leaf is analgesic and anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce pain and rheumatism (Caputo et al, Molecules, 2017).
How you can use laurel
Depending on your needs, there are several laurel-based remedies at your disposal, thanks to which you can benefit from the properties of this splendid plant. If you want to benefit from its digestive properties, bring a cup of water to a boil, remove from heat and add 2 fresh, crumpled bay leaves, steep for ten minutes, then filter and drink. If you want to take advantage of the hypoglycemic and cholesterol-lowering properties of laurel, you can also add a piece of cinnamon stick and 2 cloves to the herbal tea we have just seen. These two remedies help in fact to reduce circulating sugar and cholesterol levels (Jin et al, Food Chem Toxicol, 2011). It is important to underline that, for the control of blood sugar and cholesterol, a herbal tea based on laurel is useful and beneficial as the active ingredients that help to keep blood sugar and cholesterol under control are water-soluble (Khan et al, J Clin Biochem Nutr, 2009). Instead, to take advantage of the pain-relieving action of laurel, you can use massages with lotions made with its essential oil, which you can easily find in specialized stores. In this case, pour 3-4 drops of laurel essential oil into two tablespoons of sweet almond oil and apply to the affected area with slow circular movements. The essential oil can then be diffused in the rooms, in this case it is possible to take advantage of its antimicrobial and disinfectant capacity as well as of its tonic and neuroprotective effect.